Mexican Chocolate Mini Pound Cakes

Mexican Chocolate Mini Pound Cakes

October 28: National Chocolate Day

Colorfully-decorated altars are being set up in some Mexican homes around this time of the year here in South Texas in preparation for El Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festivities on November 2.

Mexicans have an interesting way to honor their loved ones who have passed away. Their altars are a memorial to the dearly departed and they are adorned with bright flowers, candles, photos and candy skulls. Sometimes, pan de muerto (bread of the dead) and other favorite foods of the deceased are displayed. The dead are not forgotten; their lives are celebrated by those they left behind.

Inspired by this cultural custom, we made Mexican chocolate mini pound cakes for National Chocolate Day. But these pasteles de chocolate may be prepared ahead of time, then eaten by family and friends during graveyard gatherings or presented on the altars on El Día de Los Muertos

Recipe

(Adapted from Southern Living)

For the cake

  • 4 squares (4 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate (we used Baker’s brand)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (we used Mexican vainilla)
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup chocolate syrup
  • 1 ¼ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup buttermilk

Directions

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with the sugar and vanilla. 

Mexican Chocolate Mini Pound Cakes

Beat in the eggs. Stir in the chocolate syrup. Mix in the melted chocolate. In another bowl, combine the flour, ground cinnamon, baking soda and pinch of salt. Gradually blend into the chocolate mixture until smooth. 

Mexican Chocolate Mini Pound Cakes

Add the buttermilk to the batter. Grease the wells of a mini fluted/bundt pan (we used a Wilton brand pan). Pour the batter no more than 2/3 full to the top in each well. Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F for 20 minutes, testing with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. Invert the pan onto a wire rack to cool the cakes completely. Yield: Approximately 1 ½ dozen mini pound cakes.
 Mexican Chocolate Mini Pound Cakes 

For the chocolate drizzles (glaze)

  • 3 squares (3 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate (we used Baker’s brand)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons heavy whipping cream, hot
  • 1 teaspoon corn syrup

Directions

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate. Stir in the whipping cream and corn syrup until smooth. Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Put the wire rack with the mini pound cakes on top. Place the chocolate glaze mixture into a pastry bag outfitted with a small round tip. Or place it in a zipper top plastic bag and snip a small hole from the corner. Drizzle the tops in a back and forth motion, allowing the glaze to drip down the sides of the mini pound cakes. Transfer to a platter and serve.

Mexican Chocolate Mini Pound Cakes

Notes

  • Mexican chocolate pound cake is a bit dense but dry. We prefer to put a chocolate glaze on top to make it more moist and have a richer flavor. A dusting of powdered sugar instead of the glaze is another option.
  • This recipe can be made for a little loaf pan. Increase the baking time by another 20 minutes, testing with a toothpick for doneness. Double the recipe of the glaze to ice the loaf-style pound cake.
  • Check out more chocolate recipes by searching our blog.

Chocolate Wafers

 Chocolate Wafers

July 3: National Chocolate Wafer Day

Purchasing packaged cookies is definitely easier than making them at home. But sometimes it is hard to find Nabisco’s Famous Chocolate Wafers at the store, especially when we need to crush them into crumbs to make a deep, dark pie crust. So we end up baking them, which is fine because they are fresher and free of preservatives. Chocolate wafers are a bit bitter, so we spice them up with “south of the border” seasonings, such as vainilla, cinnamon and, if you dare, a dash of chili pepper! Chocolate wafers are versatile for making pie crusts, for assembling ice cream or cookie sandwiches and for snacking on their own. Make them Mexican-style for a fabulous fiesta flavor on National Chocolate Wafer Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Food Network and Gourmet)

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup cocoa powder (Dutch process/alkalized)
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (we used Mexican vainilla)
  • 2 egg whites
  • cinnamon-sugar (optional)
  • chili pepper (optional)

Directions

In a bowl, combine the cocoa powder, flour and salt. In a mixer, cream the butter with the brown and white sugars.

Chocolate Wafers

Add the vanilla. Mix in the egg whites. Gradually add the cocoa mixture and blend well.

Chocolate Wafers

On waxed paper, place the cookie dough. Put another piece of waxed paper on top. Flatten into a disc and roll out to no more than ¼-inch thick. Place on a flat pan and refrigerate for several hours to firm up the dough. Remove from the refrigerator and peel away the top waxed paper.

Chocolate Wafers

Use a 2-inch round or fluted cutter to cut out shapes. Transfer the cookie rounds to a lightly greased waxed paper on top of a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining scrap dough. Place the baking sheets in the refrigerator for another 30 minutes to firm up the unbaked wafers. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until slightly puffed up in the middle. Remove from the oven.

Chocolate Wafers

Transfer the wafers to a wire rack to cool. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar and chili pepper (optional) on top of the wafers. Shake off excess spices and crumbs. Store wafers in an airtight container.

Chocolate Wafers

Notes

  • The cookie dough must be chilled and firm before baking the cut rounds to ensure that the  chocolate wafers cool to a crisp.